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Long before the freshman representatives known as “The Squad” joined her on the House floor, Pramila Jayapal was blazing the trail as a progressive woman of color in state and national legislatures—the first South Asian American woman to serve in the House. But how did she get there, and how can a new generation learn to fight back and make change?
Congresswoman Jayapal joins us for a livestreamed conversation with journalist Naomi Ishisaka to share stories of her political and personal history from her new book, Use the Power You Have: A Brown Woman’s Guide to Politics and Political Change. From the shaping of her activism in the crucible of 9/11, to her grassroots activism in Washington State, to her wins in the House like the introduction of the Medicare For All Act, Jayapal imparts with passion and insight a wealth of ideas and inspiration. She also recounts her personal journey as an immigrant, a woman of color, the mother of a gender nonconforming child, and a person who chose to have an abortion, and how that journey informs her progressive ideals. Join Jayapal and Ishisaka as they offer a soulful and keen reflection on claiming and using power, and a vital blueprint for the next generation of women and people of color seeking change.
Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal was elected in 2016 to the House of Representatives, and is now serving her second term representing Washington’s 7th District, which encompasses most of Seattle. She has been a leader on immigration, income inequality, healthcare, higher education, women’s rights, and climate justice, and was the lead sponsor of the Medicare for All bill.
Naomi Ishisaka is a columnist for the Seattle Times, with a focus on racial equity and social justice, and a photographer. Her writing and photography have appeared in a number of publications, including the Seattle Times and Seattle Magazine. Her documentary photography of the Seattle Black Lives Matter movement is featured in a number of shows and galleries, as well as in Ava DuVernay’s documentary 13th.
Presented by Town Hall Seattle.